Up until a few weeks ago I had never been in Pivo Pivo, but here I was again sidling up to the bar and getting a drink in. It's a nice set up, but I've yet to see it full.
Maybe they need to get out there and promote, promote and promote.
Tonight it's a four band bill and I'm there to see New York city girl Jana Peri play an acoustic set of punky power pop gems. From Ramones styled rockers to country work outs she runs the gamut of rock chick staples and does so with aplomb, but more about Jana later as first up we had a very young and nervous man who I didn't catch the name of. It doesn't matter though as I doubt I will see him again. Well not intentionally.
He started off with some technical problems and had to borrow a guitar from Jana before he could get the show on the road. Then he regaled us with some mumbled songs, a couple of which were covers.
Have you ever imagined what a Libertines song would sound like if the Proclaimers did it? No, neither had I, but let me tell just say that the reality is far worse than anything you could come up with.
Near the end he managed to do an awful version of a rap song about someone licking his lollipop. I think it was supposed to be sort of so bad that some people would think it had a strange charm. It didn't.
The next band up are touting themselves about as The Morra, and I can only assume this is until they can find themselves a real band name, but regardless of having one of the worst names going they are actually a shit hot band.
The impression that I got was that they would probably all have been indie kids a few years ago and then someone bought a 13th Floor Elevators album and they never looked back. (Don't expect any jugs though.)
They are gifted guys and while I'll admit to being clueless as to who they would appeal to I don't really care as I liked them.
Finally the lady we had come to see graced the stage.
I thought that some of the energy that a band would bring to the performance would be missing, but I was wrong. Jana (pronounced Ja-Na) for her small stature dominates the stage with her big voice, and it's very obvious that she isn't from these shores. She carries herself with the history of the New York scene as baggage. She's CBGBs, she's the Continental, She's the grit under the cities nails and the neon glow of its night life.
The set that she's promoting tonight relies heavily on her first full length release 'Catching Flies with Vinegar', with the stripped down acoustic versions still effectively conveying her new york sassiness.
A song like 'I wanna rock' might initially sound like a walking cliche, but lyrically it's fun and more tongue in cheek than a first listen would lead you to believe, while the rousing 'L.A. Girl' highlighted that east coast Americans, like us, don't really get the vacant west coast barbie doll types either. In an eclectic set Jana even managed to squeeze in a country track called 'I'll be Gone' that once again shows Jana to have a wicked sense of humour, and that she's probably not a woman to mess with.
It would be fair to say that this is the sort of serendipitous gig that reaffirms my faith in stepping out and just seeing what gets thrown up. The only downside was that all too soon the set was nearing its end. To finish the show off we get a couple of tracks from her self titled debut ep. The song 'Dating sucks', is a track that could be a manifesto for ladies of a certain age, and 'The La La Song' is an evocative ode to her last visit to the UK.
I sincerely hope that she returns to Europe sooner rather than later, and that next time she manages to drag her band over with her. If she does I'll be there. Hell, even if it's another solo show I'll still be there.
Take it from me, this lady is a class act.
If she's playing anywhere near you then do yourself a favour and grab a ticket. It'll be worth it. Guaranteed.
The night grinds to a finish with Frances and her trampoline, a band who initially did nothing for me when I checked them out on myspace, but edged me towards reluctantly giving them some kudos for their funky angular post punk live sound. Now all they have to do is capture that in the studio. Good luck to them.